Steve Ballmer hits 10 years as Microsoft CEO

“Exactly 10 years ago this week, Bill Gates stepped down as chief executive of Microsoft, installing Steve Ballmer in his place,” Nicole Kobie reports for IT Pro. “That decade hasn’t been kind to Microsoft. In the past 10 years, Microsoft’s stock has dived 53 per cent – a slide that would have seen many other chief execs knocked from the position pretty quickly.”

“There’s nowhere else to start, really,” Kobie reports. “Sure, acting like a lunatic on stage hardly explains a 53 per cent stock prices spiral (one assumes, though maybe it does) but it’s hard to escape that one of the most enduring images of Ballmer is the big bald sweaty man hoarsely chanting ‘developers, developers, developers.'”

Kobie reports, “Or there’s the time, to mark Microsoft’s 25th anniversary, that he danced like a monkey across a stage for 45 full seconds (and looking like he pulls something halfway through it). Nearly a minute, as a monkey – this from the head honcho at one of the biggest, best known firms in the world.”

Kobie reports, “While dancing across stage like a monkey is one way to get attention, launching good products is probably the preferred method.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t forget this one:

And no Ballmer retrospective would be complete without these two:

Excerpts from a BusinessWeek interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004:

Steve Jobs: Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost 10 years. That’s a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.

BusinessWeek: Is this common in the industry?
Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft?

BusinessWeek: Steve Ballmer.
Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.

Source: The Seed of Apple’s Innovation

As always, glasses up: May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft’s CEO for as long as it takes!


  1. Without someone selling something to someone else, no one would have a job. The issue is not that he is a salesman, as your own livelihood depends on a salesman, but that he is a poor manager. Steve Jobs is a salesman, just a damn good one.

  2. Steve Ballmer is far and away one of the best things to ever happen to Apple. That, combined with Steve Jobs’ return pretty much gave Apple a MUCH easier ride through the last 10 years (just imagine if someone competent had actually been in charge of Micro$oft! I shudder at the thought… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    What’s even scarier is that MS has done as well as it has over this time period. I still don’t get why the Mac doesn’t own 70% of the computer market. Well, maybe one day (but Windows 7 is, sadly, a lot closer to the Mac and them keeping their market dominance- I would have thought that Vista would have driven tens of millions to Apple- I guess there’s no underestimating the shortsightedness of computer buyers or MS CEOs).

  3. Microsoft has never had a CEO who has known a thing about technology. Approximately ten years ago the original microsoft business plan reached the end of its relevance. By business plan, that is to say, all the corrupt, predatory contract and negotiation practices which Bill learned on his daddy’s knee. Ballmer’s skill set is that of a car dealer sales manager, but here he is managing the decomposition of the World’s largest corpse.

  4. I’m sorry, but isn’t Steve Jobs the sales guy…he didn’t exactly let Woz run the company ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    He’s a MUCH better salesman than ballmer or pretty much anyone in any industry….but um…he’s still a sales guy.

  5. “Steve Ballmer hits 10 years as Microsoft CEO” … with a resounding S P L A T ! !. May he reign “just long enough”. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Does Steve Jobs think he is a tech geek? An “ideas” guy, for certain. Able to pull a concept out of his hat at a moment’s notice and drive the engineers until it’s a world beater, yeah. Able to see what some other crew built, something that they marketed as Good Enough, and realize where it fell short – and how to fix it. But an engineer? Hey, he’s amazing … let’s not expect the whole package.

  6. @Mark,
    You must be a young one,,,, or a troll.

    He’s a MUCH better salesman than ballmer or pretty much anyone in any industry….but um…he’s still a sales guy.”

    No, While Steve did some “selling ” to industry in the early years, he is the technology driver not the “used software” dealer. A big difference. However, if you cannot see that difference, it would be a waste to explain it to you. Buy a PC, all the other lemmings do… er make it a netbook, cause almost good enough is just darn great.


    Just a thought,

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.